I mentioned in my post ‘Addictions or Habits or Routines’ that I have an addiction, habit and routine of tanning. Many studies indicate overexposure to UV light is linked to skin cancer, especially tanning beds. Using a tanning bed for twenty minutes is comparable to being on a beach with no sun block for an entire day.
So why do I tan? It may be the addiction or the habit or the routine or that I like the way I look or I like myself better with a tan. Dr. Audrey Kunin, dermatologist and founder of DERMADoctor Inc. is quoted as saying “People think that tanned individuals are more attractive, healthier looking, and it’s incredibly difficult to get someone not to do something that perceive as providing them with a positive perception.”
Our sun provides many good things; wonderful sunrises, spectacular sunsets, warmth, light and vitamin D. Vitamin D is essential for our bodies.
Excerpts from Wikipedia.org –
Vitamin D refers to a group of fat-soluble secosteroids responsible for enhancing intestinal absorption of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphate and zinc. In humans, the most important compounds in this group are vitamin D3 (also known as cholecalciferol) and vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol). Cholecalciferol and ergocalciferol can be ingested from the diet and from supplements. Very few foods contain vitamin D; synthesis of vitamin D (specifically cholecalciferol) in the skin is the major natural source of the vitamin. Dermal synthesis of vitamin D from cholesterol is dependent on sun exposure (specifically UVB radiation).
A diet deficient in vitamin D in conjunction with inadequate sun exposure causes osteomalacia (or rickets when it occurs in children), which is a softening of the bones. In the developed world, this is a rare disease. However, vitamin D deficiency has become a worldwide issue in the elderly and remains common in children and adults.
Researching more about tanning, I stumbled across the article ‘Tanning Can Cause Cancer, Not Tanning Could Cause a Lot Worst’ from the website gizmodo.com. Excerpts from this article –
Vitamin D, produced when skin is exposed to light, is essential for our bodies. Unfortunately, modern lifestyles have minimized our time we spend under the sun. The Sun’s Heartbeat explains why a tan isn’t as bad as previously thought.
Enter modern vitamin D researchers such as John Cannell, MD, executive director of the Vitamin D Council, a nonprofit educational corporation that believes that “many humans are needlessly suffering and dying from Vitamin D Deficiency.”
“We are the first society of cave people,” he lamented to me in 2010. “In the development process of creating the skin, nature never dreamed that we’d deliberately avoid the Sun so thoroughly.”
The implied answer, of course, is that we were designed to have a high and steady level of this vitamin in our bodies. Yet as more and more people are tested, researchers are finding serious vitamin D deficiencies in virtually all of the population of the United States, Canada, and northern Europe. The reason? According to Cannell and the other doctors on the Vitamin D Council, we have been hiding from the Sun for decades.
The skeptical might well wonder how, when cancer typically takes decades to develop, such a huge drop can be detected after just a few years. Heaney believes it’s because vitamin D prevents tiny predetectable tumors from growing or spreading. “That’s the kind of cancer I’d want to have – one that never grows,” he told me in June 2010.
I understand the risks of tanning and like many other people continue to tan anyway. During the colder months I spend about 15 minutes or less in our tanning bed we have at home. During the hotter months I spend about an hour tanning in the beautiful sun. I have olive skin color and my body is accustomed to tanning, so I never burn and I tan in moderation by my terms.
So what is the point of this post?
The sun can be our friend.